In a previous post we saw how politically involved Mormons are in the United States and that a Mormon, Mitt Romney, ran for president in the 2008 elections and will run again in 2012.
In the midst of the publicity storm surrounding Mormonism at that time FOX News, at the end of 2007, compiled a list of 21 questions to put to The Mormon Church. I have used these before on my other blog as a useful aid to addressing Mormonism on key questions. With people already talking about 2012 I thought it might be an opportunity to reproduce them here.
The Church objected to answering some of the questions on the grounds that they misrepresent the basic tenets of the Mormon religion.
Quote. "Many of these questions are typically found on anti-Mormon blogs or Web sites which aim to misrepresent or distort Mormon doctrines," the church said in a statement. "Several of these questions do not represent ... any serious attempt to depict the core values and beliefs of its members."
You may judge for yourself whether the questions are fair and whether they have answered or evaded them. However, Mormons have traditionally revelled in the title “peculiar people” so it does seem churlish to complain when others ask about those things that mark them out as peculiar. We begin here to look at the questions (Q) and answers (A) with comments (C) and quotes (Qu.) Some will be handled singly while others appear two or three to a post under a subject heading:
Q: Why do some call the Church a cult?
A: For the most part, this seems to stem from a lack of understanding about the Church and its core doctrines and beliefs. Under those circumstances it is too easy to label a religion or other organization that is not well-known with an inflammatory term like 'cult.' Famed scholar of religion Martin Marty has said a cult means a church you don't personally happen to like. We don't believe any organization should be subjected to a label that has come to be as pejorative as that one.
C: I have commented before on how peculiar it is that a church claiming to be Christian should be so consistently “misunderstood”, even by “other Christians”. The Mormons seem to be constantly fighting a rearguard action against misunderstandings and misconceptions. This is all the more puzzling for a church with an ongoing professional programme of self-promotion. Is Mormonism hard to understand?
Why does the Mormon Church continually have to “explain” itself? It is a truism that someone who does a lot of explaining usually has a lot of explaining to do. Blaming your detractors is simply not good enough; the Mormon Church does have a lot of explaining to do and it would be wise to ask why.
As to the assertion that no organisation should suffer the pejorative label of cult, it should be remembered that Mormonism is founded on the teaching that all the creeds of “Christendom” (that’s your church and mine) are “an abomination” and that all who profess those creeds (that’s you and me if you are a Christian) are “corrupt”.
Perhaps Mormons should remember that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones; that what goes around comes around; that people don’t so easily forget that Mormonism is established on terms that remain antagonistic to and pejorative of others.
The Mormon Church trades on the modern creed that every religion is of equal value, everyone’s right “in their own way”; that there is no blame and therefore no shame; and the “everyone’s a victim” culture of today. However, Christians know that there is right and wrong, truth and falsehood, righteousness and sin and a way that seems right to a man but that leads to destruction (Proverbs 14:12). Mormonism is founded on the claim that the ways of Christendom lead to destruction. Christians, in turn, warn others that there is no salvation in Mormonism.
They teach that we are apostate, and we teach that they are a cult and in serious error. It is dishonest to continually insist that there is no reason for controversy. It’s a messy old place sometimes but welcome to the real world